5 reasons Mississippi State should be No. 1 in Sunday's poll
Mississippi State may be 24 hours from becoming the No. 1 team in the nation. Yes, that Mississippi State. I’m serious.
The Bulldogs improved to 6-0 with a 38-23 win over No. 2 Auburn, and in four weeks time the Bulldogs have risen from the realm of unranked teams to the top 2 in the nation.
It remains uncertain whether the undefeated Bulldogs will jump current No. 1 and defending national champion Florida State for the top spot in Sunday’s polls, but here’s five reasons they should:
1. Mississippi State beat top 10 teams in three consecutive games.
No other team can claim that. Not only did Mississippi State win games against No. 8 LSU, No. 6 Texas A&M and No. 2 Auburn in the span of four weeks (with a bye in the middle), it won all three games in convincing fashion. The Bulldogs only beat LSU by 5 points following some garbage time touchdowns in the second half, but it led by more than 20 points in the second half of that game. It led A&M by as many as 24 points, and led Auburn by 21 less than seven minutes into Saturday’s showdown. Mississippi State has been as dominant as any team in the nation, and deserves to be rewarded with the No. 1 ranking.
2. Dak Prescott is the new Jameis Winston.
Prescott has thrown for at least 200 yards and rushed for at least 75 yards in four straight games. He’s the consensus favorite to win the Heisman Trophy this December. Not only is Mississippi State the nation’s most accomplished team, it’s being led by the nation’s best player. The Bulldogs deserve the “superstar treatment,” especially with an unblemished record. After all, do we really feel comfortable slotting the Dak Knight No. 2?
The #DakKnight rises! Big players make big plays in big games!! Doesn't get much bigger than this! #HailState pic.twitter.com/tiMCnNnXmX
— Deep South Pout (@deepsouthpout) October 11, 2014
3. Florida State may be undefeated, but it hasn’t earned its No. 1 ranking.
Sure, Florida State won the national championship last year. But this is this year. The Seminoles have one win over a ranked team, No. 22 Clemson, and although surviving a game with a ranked conference foe without the reigning Heisman winner is impressive, the rest of FSU’s run to 6-0 has not been as flashy. Mississippi State has three wins more impressive than Florida State’s best victory, and it hasn’t struggled with mediocre opponents the way FSU did against North Carolina State and The Citadel. The Seminoles have been great this year, but they’re not No. 1 material.
4. Mississippi State would beat Florida State head to head.
The Bulldogs rank ahead of the Seminoles in scoring offense and scoring defense, all while playing a significantly tougher schedule. Mississippi State showed against Auburn’s Nick Marshall and LSU’s Anthony Jennings that it can handle mobile quarterbacks like Winston, and it has shown it can handle the bright lights of the national stage in topping three straight top 10 teams. It can be argued Winston’s ability as a passer separates him from players like Marshall and Jennings, but Mississippi State’s defense is loaded with NFL talent and would pose a tougher test than any defense Winston has faced this season. No one has stopped the Bulldogs offense in 2014, either — MSU is averaging more than 42 points per game on offense. On paper, Mississippi State is the better team, so why should it be ranked behind Florida State in Sunday’s polls?
5. Mississippi State is the better story.
The Seminoles were expected to be this good in 2014, and if anything they’ve underwhelmed fans and experts alike this season. Mississippi State, meanwhile, is a longtime lovable loser with no national prominence. The Bulldogs were unranked a month ago, and had lost 15 straight games to ranked teams before this season. No one saw this coming, not even MSU fans. The Bulldogs have been the most exciting story in college football, and moving a very deserving team to No. 1 in the nation would be the perfect next chapter in this storybook season.